Saturday, 24 October 2015

Kenwood KD-3070 Turntable

It's been awhile since I've had a direct drive by Kenwood to come though my hands.  While it doesn't belong to me, it's quite interesting to be in one after all the the belt drives Kenwoods I've been in as of late.  While the base is not corian like the KD-2055 that we have for sale, there is a concrete block inside the plinth to give it the weight and I am sure it probably act as a dampener against vibration as well.

Some other odd features is the the anti-skate, there is actually a device that will hold it in place when being transported, neat feature.  As well, the mechanism inside that starts the platter and the automatic return mechanism is exactly the same as the KD-2055, which if my memory serves me right is also the same mechanism on a Telefunken (made in Japan of course) turntable.  Neat little tidbit.

It has an excellent motor with a very nice tone arm.  It is a 2-speed direct drive turntable with automatic return, what's not to love?  It has good platter mass, a nice clean design and in great shape.  It's been serviced and comes with a new headshell with leads and also one of my favourite Audio Technica cartridge, the AT12E with brand new stylus.

One side note, the strobe markings on the platter are only for the 33rpm for both 50hz and 60hz.  The 45rpm strobe is actually on the mat, the silver disc that sits on top.  Took me a while to figure out when I was adjusting the controls.

Specifications:
http://www.vinylengine.com/library/kenwood/kd-3070.shtml





Sansui AU-101 Integrated Amplifier

It may be small but, it is sure a charming little fellow.  I've always enjoyed Sansui aesthetics, they've always been quite classy with the black face plates and wood sides.  I've had several little Sansui amps and big ones too.  I've always enjoy the designs of the early to mid 70s Sansui, from their triple digit series like the AU-505, AU-777, to the AU-7700 which progress to their AU-7900 and even their little receivers like the 441.  They always look great and sound great too!

Being of the early 70s design, the AU-101 it has a much more warm signature in comparison to say the G series receivers.  I find they often match well with acoustically sealed speakers as there the bass seems to a lot more pronounced.  But, that's just me wanting to balance things out.  I am sure they will sound great on any speaker design, as long as they're not power hungry!

But, back to the sound.  While it is a bit on the warm side, it is not overly boomy or mushy sounding like some other brands.  All I can say it's quite lovely to listen too and you have to listen to it to appreciate it or not.

Since, this little guy is only rated at 15wpc into 8ohms.  It does sound similar to the AU-555/555a and AU-666/777 and the like but, that's based off memory as those amplifiers are long gone to new homes!  But, I guess you could call this amp a pretty "sweet" sounding amplifier.  Though, despite being a tiny guy it does have all the necessary inputs like phono, auxiliary, tuner and tape (only 1 tape).  But, only one set of speaker can be used with this guy.

I think it would make a great den amplifier or even a nice computer setup.  It's in great shape and the best part is that it's been professionally serviced by the Tweakjunkie!

Specifications:
http://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/sansui/au-101.shtml



Audio Reflex 1979 Turntable

Audio Reflex, a company that has been importing electronics from Asia into Canada and Australia.  I've actually seen and read quite a bit on this brand, similar to EDS and AGS.  Much of their turntables were re-labeled CEC tables (think Radio Shack turntables) and they are great performers.  The name may not strike much confidence however, the innards do.  It has the usual markings of a CEC table, from the motor to the tone arm.

It is your typical 2-speed direct drive turntable with automatic return.  I did, however, had to replace the feet as they were all rotten.  Thankfully, they were replaced with much nicer rubber feet!  However, it does have the lovely wood-grain vinyl look that gives it the retro-vibe and the slighly smoked dustcover is a nice touch.

It's been fully serviced with a light polish to the dustcover.  It has a brand new headshell with leads and is nicely equipped with an Empire 2000ED cartridge with a brand new stylus.  You can't go wrong with those old Empire cartridges, they sound quite nice.  Can't find much on the Empire 2000ED?  From my measurements, it's just a re-labeled Empire 2000E, just like the Empire 5000MKIII I have lying around.  I had all 3 on my desk.

I always enjoy these tables, they make excellent starter tables and are quite the work horse!







EPI 100V Speakers

These are one of my favourite 2-way speakers of all time.  They are often over looked by other 2-way designs with 8" woofers, like the AR-4x and Dynaco A25 but, the EPI remains my favourite and in my opinion it is better than the ARs and Dynacos.  Why?  Neutrality.  These are one of the most neutral (i.e. flat) sounding speakers from 45hz to 18hz.  I actually own a really early version of the EPI 100 called the Epicure 100 and everyone loves them.

Over the Thanksgiving holidays I had the EPI 100V playing, they filled my living room with ease.  I think I paired them up with the Sansui AU-101.

They have been completely refurbished.  As usual, the foams were shot, so they were replaced with nice flitted foams from Rick Cobbs and then, the old 10uf capacitor was replaced.  However, here is where the fun part begin, well, it wasn't a fun process but, this is where it gets interesting.  I had a choice to replace the capacitors with a single 10uf non-polar cap however, I ended up doing a charge coupled network for them.  This was the same exact setup is what I've done on my Epicure 100.

They sound quite superb.  These inverted tweeters are excellent, they have great clarity and imaging, especially when recapped.  For their size, the bass is quite adequate.  Granted, they won't shake the fillings out but, they have some really nice bass for the size.  Let it be known I am a huge fan of Winslow Burhoe designs and I know many of his speakers.

I remember doing a A/B comparison with my Epicure 100 and the AR-4x, both were recapped with original drivers.  By far the Epicure was a nicer sounding one, much more open.  Bass was similar.  But, the tweeter was definitely better sounding on the Epicure over the ARs.

They are in great shape and are wrapped in wood grain vinyl.  They will make great entry level speakers but, can be so much more.  They're not that pretty with the grills off but, they do sound great!  At least they look a lot better than the masonite tweeters...

Specifications:
http://www.humanspeakers.com/e/epi100.htm

Note: Huw Powell is a great guy, you can actually buy the latest incarnation of the EPI 100V from him off the link above.  Still made in the USA with all handmade drivers!  Thanks Huw!







Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sony PS-X50 Turntable

Fresh from the Tweakjunkie1!  This particular series from Sony is definitely one of my favourite series.  This is my second PS-X50 and the other was the PS-X60.  I guess this series was part of the turntable wars during the late 70s where manufacturers were competing with each other to see who can make the best turntable.  There is a lot of technology put into these tables.

For instance, the Sony PS-X50 features SBMC cabinet (Sony Bulk Moulding Compound), Sony's BSL (Brushless and Slotless), Magnedrive and X'Tal (quartz lock) motor, die-cast aluminum platter, Sony PUA-7 tone arm (J-shaped), adjustable VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle), etc...it's packed full of technology and is well built machine.

It's is a 2-speed, direct drive quartz locked, semi-automatic turntable.  It is superb table.  I really like them.  Not to mention it's fairly clean inside, which is a huge bonus, it's due to it being a semi-automatic.  

The VTA is the best feature of the unit.  Have bulky cartridge?  Not a problem to increase the height.  It also sounds really nice. 

It's in great shape and comes with a Grado GF1 cartridge which is the equivalent to the current Grado Silver cartridge.  I also forgot to add on our other turntables, all of our dustcovers have been lightly polished.

Links!
http://www.vinylengine.com/library/sony/ps-x50.shtml
http://www.thevintageknob.org/sony-PS-X50.html




 

Kenwood KD-2055 Turntable

I was finally able to get my hands on these turntables, yep that's plural.  I have two Kenwood KD-2055 right now.  1 is ready but the other needs a few more parts.  I love these tables.  I think they're fantastic.  Well, from a performance view point they decent and excellent at their price point but, they are some of the most beautiful turntables to have from an eye-candy perspective.  The Corian-like plinth is not only pretty but function.  This is a hefty turntable and I love how it was made.  It does have some high quality points going for it.

I had one but, I think it sold before I wrote anything.  It indeed went fast.  So, let's talk about it.  Some more it has your typical hallmarks of a quality Japanese made table of the 70s.  Excellent sized motor, nice tonearm and a lot of thought went into reducing plinth resonance.  First the Corian-like plinth is function and heavy but, even the bottom plate of the plinth is made from heavy MDF.  I know some modify these tables by disabling the automatic return and then swap the arm out.

It's a 2-speed, belt drive, semi-automatic turntable and in excellent shape.  It's been fully serviced, and comes with a new belt and a brand new Shure M95ED stylus.  It's a beautiful statement piece for budding vinyl enthusiast who may want a turntable that is both functional and focal point in their system.

Link!
http://www.vinylengine.com/library/kenwood/kd-2055.shtml





Sansui SR-222 Turntable

We got 2 of these right now, we're just waiting on a new stylus for the other one.  I might post another write up on it on the blog but, would it be redundant to have multiple post on the Sansui SR-222 with the only different being the photos?  I would like to think no but, some might view it redundant.  Oh well, this is my blog!

The Sansui SR-222 is a very simplistic, yet fine machine.  It has the typical hall marks of your quality turntables of the late 70s.  Good sized motor, decent platter weight and an excellent tonearm.  This is the first generation of the SR-222.  It is a 2-speed, pure manual belt drive table.  What does that mean?  Easy to service and fix.

Other neat features include the smoked dustcover, metal hinges and RCA outs for those who want to put higher quality cables on the rear.

As usual, we've gone through this table and put a new belt, headshell and retrofitted it with a Shure Me95ED with a brand new stylus!  

Link!
http://www.vinylengine.com/library/sansui/sr-222.shtml





Hitachi HA-5700 Integrated Amplifier & FT-5000 Tuner

Ah, one of my favourite power source.  Most of the guys know that I like Hitachi gear, especially their amplifiers.  The HA-1100 integrated amplifier is one of my favourite amps as it's dynamic and clean.  Not to mention, it is well built.  The HA-5700 is no different, except in it's sound signature.  The HA-5700 integrated amplifier uses MOSFET as their output.  And, how does it sound?  It sounds smooth, full but not muddy.  It has such a musical midrange that vocals sound superb.  It has almost a tube vibe.  I like MOSFET amplifiers and my main power amplifier is a MOSFET amp because they sound so good.

Let's talk about some specifications.  Let's start with the interior, it has dual transformers.  As well, it has extra gain in the phono section for MC (Moving Coil) cartridges.  Alright, moving to the exterior.  It has all the goodies most people like, it has a subsonic filter, tone defeat and loudness.  It was built during the early 1980s so, it does have  VU (volume unit) meter but, it's not your typical analog-needle looking meter but, a row of LED but, it's pretty neat in this pretty slim line amplifier.  As well, it's rated at 50wpc.

It was professionally serviced by our friend, the Tweakjunkie1, and it's in excellent shape.  If you haven't heard MOSFET before, you should at least give it a go.  I tend to prefer the "lush" sound of the MOSFET over the early solid state gear from the other Japanese manufacturers from the early 70s, as the MOSFET is far less muddy.

Let's talk about the tuner.  Truth be told, I don't know much about tuners.  However, the FT-5000 is a digitial tuner with quartz lock.  I have to admit, it does sound a lot better than many analog tuners.  It's very clean sounding.  And, having memory function is very useful to have.   Remind me of your typical HK tuners of the 80s. 

Links!
http://audio-database.com/Lo-D-HITACHI/amp/ha-5700-e.html
http://audio-database.com/Lo-D-HITACHI/tuner/ft-5000-e.html





Sunday, 8 February 2015

Yamaha YP-66 Turntable

The rosewood vinyl wrapped twin sibling of the Yamaha YP-221, they are the exactly the same other than the colour of the plinth and instead of silver plastic bits on the YP-221 the YP-66 has black bits.

This is your typical belt drive turntable of the mid to late 70s.  It's a 2-speed with automatic return (semi-automatic).  It's a nice entry level turntable with all the decent built quality that you find on majority of the Japanese made tables of that era.  It has a good sized motor and a decent weight.  Yamaha tables are like Sony tables, they always have decent quality components and they always look nice to the eyes.  The slight smoked dustcover and the rosewood plinth makes it quite unique to look at.

Sadly, the antiskate weight on our isn't original.  It was missing when we got it.  After a bit of research we found the appropriate weight and found an appropriate weight to retrofit into our table.  We found a nice brass weight to fit with the design.  And, as usual, we've gone through this table to ensure everything is lubricated and running well.  Personally, the brass weight looks nice and nice contrast over your typical silver/chromed antiskate weight.

I've installed a Realistic R47XT cartridge (re-badged Shure Me95ED) with a new old stock stylus.  Everything runs as it should, tracks and plays quite nicely.  It's in great shape and the dustcover has been given a light polish.  It's all ready for a new home!






Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Luxman FQ-900 - Lux BIC 71/3R Receiver

Another Luxman but of the early 70s.  This is a beast, that it weights a lot.  Over the internet the Luxman FQ-900 has another name.  People assumed the Lux BIC 71/3R belongs to the bigger sibling of the FQ-900, the FQ-990.  However, I think the Lux BIC 71/3R is the correct one and the Lux BIC 71/2R is the FQ-990.  Why?  Well, from what I've "researched" i.e. Googling, the 71/2R retailed at a higher price, thus I am assuming it had more power.  Both the FQ-900 and FQ-990 shared the same design, just one had more power.  So, higher retail price probably meant more power.  That is my story and I am sticking to it until I get more concrete evidence.  However, these units are quite "rare" and I haven't seen a lot of information about them.

This is a solid state receiver, in case I didn't mention it.  And, like the R-3030, it shares very similar sound signature, that it's smooth, open, and very balanced.  However, I do think the R-3030 is a bit more refined, which makes sense, the R-3030 is almost a decade newer.  However, the Luxman FQ-900 does seem to match well with the AR4x speakers.

Inside the guts it's all quality, almost look hand built from all the wire wrapped and well organized placement of the circuit boards.  Not to mention that heavy transformer which makes it very lopsided when carrying the receiver! 

It's in beautiful shape and was professionally serviced by our friend the TweakJunkie!  Interestingly enough, it took 2 Luxman FQ-900 to make 1, as one of them had broken switches that needed to be replaced and finding the parts would be near impossible.  I guess he was just lucky to have come across a parts unit!

It's rated at 50wpc, and the FM and AM has different display lights, which will turn off if you switch to phono or auxiliary.  It also has some fine tuning adjustment for the radio on the right side, which is a neat feature and certainly do not see on your typical receiver. 

It is definitely an unique piece that has the sound quality too boot.  Oh, did I mention the model number is on the back, near the bottom?  Yeah, weird place to put it.


Luxman R-3030 Receiver

It's been awhile since we last wrote about a receiver, however, this is a Luxman and deserves to be talked about.  While it's a little guy at 30wpc with the right speakers it sounds superb.  Like all Luxman, it's a very smooth, clean and has a balanced sound signature.  It is one of my favorite sounding equipment there is, especially anything with that Duo-Beta circuitry. 

It has all the usual goodies that you find, tone controls, phono input with a subsonic filter with a cool LED display when dialing in the tuner.  Not to mention, like all Luxman, it looks great.  The grey face plate with the rose colour vinyl case, it is truly a beautiful piece to look at and to enjoy.

It's hard to describe the sound signature of the Luxman for those who haven't heard them.  It's like a mixture of Yamaha meet Harman Kardon with edge of refinement.  Actually, I prefer the sound of the Luxman over the HK and Yamaha, at least to my ears.  I just like how clean and open it sounds, especially when matched up to my Epicures.


Acoustic Research AR4x Speakers

The venerable 2-way speaker from Acoustic Research.  If you like and collect vintage speakers, people say the AR4x are special set of speakers.  However, they all suffer from some sort of corroded rheostats for the tweeters.

Disassembly was dirty, had to be done outside.  The fiber glass filling is nasty stuff, gloves and mask are needed.  Once inside, I've noticed this "brick" underneath the choke, it was a wax capacitor and huge for 20uf by today standard.  Pulled the rheostats, took it apart to remove the corrosion and lubricate it before reassembly, put a new capacitor inside and put everything back together.  On the walnut veneer I did a light oiling.  So, these have been completely refurbished.

So how do they sound?  Well, over the years I've heard and had many speakers, including some bigger ARs.  They clearly have the sound signature of that era, definitely not as forward sounding to more modern speakers but, they definitely have more "fuller" signature in comparison to modern bookshelf speakers.  In lack of better words, they're nice sounding.  I know that sounds very generic but, it's hard to find fault in a speaker this old.  It has that typical East Coast sound, it's nice, detailed, good soundstage, laid back in presentation and quite smooth.

They are a great pair of speakers for what they are.  And. that is exactly their flaw, they have a bit of treble roll off (a lot of vintage speakers suffer from a bit of treble roll off).  Many will not care but, for some it might be an issue.  Clearly, the AR4x are not using the latest ribbon/diamond technology.

However, they are a testament of the quality of sound from that era that many people love.  Even by today's standard they are still an excellent sounding pair of speakers.

Serial Numbers are:
FX207137
FX207126


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

EDS 25F Turntable

Now this is the oddity I want to write about.  There is absolutely no information on this turntable whatsoever but, it is 100% Japanese and no doubt a CEC machine re-badged for EDS who was an importer of electronics in Canada. 

It is your typical belt drive, 2-speed yet fully automatic turntable with repeat!  Good sized motor that you will find on any belt drive Japanese turntable of the era, well made, though a bit cheesy with the plastic levers.  Clearly, it was not a high end table of the time.

Tone arm can be found on many CEC branded tables, Realistic comes to mind.  It had 7", 10" and 12" lead in and that lovely wood grain vinyl look.

So, why do I want to write about this turntable?  It's the interior or guts, sorry no pictures, I knew I should have taken one.  All the guys know I dislike idler wheels due to the complexity and levers and multiple gears and what not to re-lubricate.   Clearly, this is an early fully automatic turntable, reminds me of some of the early Sony turntables as like the Sony the EDS 25F was a mechanical nightmare and overly complex just to make the table work.  So many levers, I had to spend a couple of hours mentally tracing out the mechanism in my head. 

The only good thing was that it wasn't as bad as the Duals I've had before.  It was easy to service after spending some time with it.  Though, it did strut that suspended plinth and it was overly sensitive so I had to bolt it down to be a more rigid plinth.  That top plate was holding a lot of weight, more than it should!

After it was put back together, I put a very nice ADC K8E on it and found a genuine stylus for it at a reasonable price.  It sounded find, everything was smooth and works like a champ!  Surprisingly enough, it work quite well before I re-lubricated it, not as smooth but, not as dead as some idlers.  It should give the new owner many years of trouble free music.  Neat turntable definitely something I haven't seen in a long time.  Oh, and the owner's manual that the turntable came with is utterly useless.